ETHIOPIA – Experts at the Ministry of Agriculture have prepared a regulatory framework in an attempt to patch up the broken feed chain in the country.  

According to Addis Fortunes, the new bill aims to connect animal feed producers directly with processors and exporters, while also monitoring the process through licensing,  in a bid to address the lingering scarcity and skyrocketing prices in the feed market.

In Ethiopia, Livestock is a growing contributor to poverty reduction, food security, and agricultural development. It contributes 40% of the global value of agriculture output and supports the livelihood and food security of more than 1.3 billion people according to the ministry data.

However, local farmers are finding it difficult to sustain their livelihood where 70% of the cost of animal production hovers around feed. Their livestock endurance in turn has been threatened leaving them stranded.

According to Fikadu Molla, livestock & fishery output market expert at the Ministry, the multi-actor proclamation under formulation by experts from the Ethiopian Agricultural Authority, Ethiopian Cooperative Commission, Ministry of Trade & Regional Integration, and the Ministry of Agriculture will provide extensive direction.

Fiakdu indicated that exporting animal feed while failing to meet the domestic demand has exacerbated the shortage.

On his part, animal production researcher Ewnetu Kebede (PhD), argues that the scarcity of animal feed comes from failing to address the producers while directing the focus on processing companies. He reasons that intermediaries will be abated when the feed processing companies become producers themselves adding that It’ll address both the price and the shortage.

According to experts, the ever-soaring prices of animal feed have been one of the pending bottlenecks exacerbated by illegal intermediaries disrupting the market chain.

The bill, therefore, proposes to certify manufacturers for their by-products and remove the needless middle players by directly connecting the producers and processors.

A long-term plan by the Ministry of Trade & Regional Integration indicates establishing a sustainable supply chain by utilizing agricultural and industrial byproducts.

Under Hamid Jemal, livestock regulatory head, the Authority plans on making certification for byproducts mandatory.

Ethiopian Agricultural Authority controls the quality of animal feed and certifies processing companies.

However, the authority revealed that only 51 animal feed processors and four producers have gotten certified for their by-products at the moment.

A study conducted by the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute reveals a 20pc animal feed deficit in Oromia Regional State, where the annual demand stands at 47.1 million tonnes while 35.5 million tonnes were available. The Amhara Regional State, on the other hand, falls short by 26pc where 23.6 million tonnes of feed were available.

Experts are, however, are optimistic that employing the livestock industry as a development engine stems from the sector’s untapped potential and the creation of diverse agro-industries along the route of commercialization.

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